By Victoria Gladstone
Yes! The edTPA has nearly been eliminated! Is it time to celebrate? Not quite. As of press time, the state Legislature was still considering the terms of Gov. Phil Murphy’s conditional veto of S-896, which passed unanimously in both houses in June 2022. The legislation was intended to prohibit the commissioner of education from requiring a teacher performance assessment as a condition of certification.
In his veto, the governor agreed with eliminating the edTPA as an unnecessary barrier to certification, but he wanted to ensure that there were guardrails in place before shifting the responsibility for a performance assessment process to educator preparation programs.
On Sept. 23, the day Murphy conditionally vetoed S-896, he shared his thoughts on the bill’s proposed changes proposed in a press release.
“I wholeheartedly agree that the current edTPA requirement for teaching candidates is counterproductive and should be eliminated but also believe that other types of performance-based assessments can ensure that teaching candidates are ready to enter the classroom,” Murphy said.
Murphy’s consideration of the prospective educators is promising as the removal of the edTPA will be a step in the right direction for improving the certification process.
I have heard of several experiences with this exam through my fellow aspiring educators, including TCNJ alumni Olivia Haas as she worked tirelessly to eliminate the edTPA. She wrote about this for the February 2022 edition of the NJEA Review in an article titled “EdTPA: Serving neither preservice educators nor students.” After learning about how difficult and inaccessible the exam can be for the college students graduating in New Jersey, I am happy to see our government actively working to improve the certification program.
As a current junior in college studying to become a teacher, I experienced a whirlwind of emotions upon learning the that edTPA is on the precipice of elimination. On the one hand, I may not be expected to take the edTPA test by the time I graduate and attempt to get my teacher certification. This means I will not have to record my live lessons during student teaching, pay excessive fees or deal with any of the other issues attached to this exam.
On the other hand, I may need to experience a brand-new assessment process to earn my certification. Putting the responsibility of assessing aspiring educators into the hands of a college, university or any educational institution can lead to many outcomes. New challenges or obstacles that current college students, like myself, may be the first to experience.
I am hopeful that my experience with the certification process will be positive as I believe all parties involved with the assessment process will try to avoid creating something similar to the edTPA.
Victoria Gladstone is a student at The College of New Jersey and a member of NJEA Preservice. With fellow NJEA Preservice member Kayla Kanarkowski, she represents aspiring educators on the NJEA Editorial Committee.